Learning is a life-time experience

adul-education-clipart-comI’m currently in the middle of an Access to Higher Education course run by the University of Kent and am studying this at the Brompton Academy in Gillingham and The Medway Campus of Kent University in the old Royal Naval Barrack at Chatham.



I consider it a privilege to be taught by the Universities superb lecturers of diverse subjects, who give up time in their already busy lives, to teach students of all ages who missed out on higher education or wish to refresh their academic abilities.



One is never too old or too young to learn, not only from the tutors, but also from the other students. It is delightful to mix with people from different generations and cultural backgrounds. To listen to their questions and answers and many points of view.


In English Literature there are no right or wrong answers. As students we are asked to consider the era in which the chosen book, play or poem was originally written. The time and the history of the various authors shaped what they wrote about and the language they used to write it. So we are learning about social history and cultural  influences alongside the literary styles and work of our great classic authors.



I hope this second chance at learning in an academic setting, mixing with such a diverse group of friends who share my passion for literature, will grow with my own lifetime experiences and help me to become better acquainted with great literature of the past and a better writer and author myself in the future.


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Time Slips by ……..

………. Yes, it really does.


There seems to have been a surge in interest in ‘time-slip’ fiction recently, although many of you will have be reading this genre for a long time. Those of you who know my writing history will be familiar with my debut novel Lighter Than Air, first published in 2008. I’m pleased to say that thanks to Amazon, sales are still going strong. The list of reviews on the Amazon pages range in date from 2008 to 2016. Amazon ensures that the ‘shelf-life’ of a book is extended from first publication to eternity. Long may this be so.

Whilst the paperback is no longer in print (until I decide to re-print it) copies of the paperback are still available under second-hand, including under the sub-category ‘collectables’, which are author-signed brand new copies sold by my own distribution source.  Also available through Amazon is the audio-book version on 10 CDs. Over 12 hours listening time for you to sit back and enjoy with your eyes closed, or to listen in your car while taking a long journey.


CD front cover only

Then of course the e-book Kindle version which brings this timeless story direct to your hand-held device. The advantage of this is – the price is low (currently £2.29 or free via Amazon Unlimited) and you can begin reading my story within minutes.

Here is the link to the Amazon page taking you to all three options. If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you will do so and enjoy the Time-Slip experience!



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Medway Libraries/Uni of Kent Creative Writing courses

I did this and the follow-on course a few years back. I strongly recommend it to all aspiring local writers. The experience is superb and it is also FREE. So get signed up asap!

Rochester Literature Festival

Following on from taster sessions in September, Medway Libraries and the University of Kent offer beginners the opportunity to develop their writing skills.

Uni Kent Writing Oct 16

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Medway Adult Festival of Learning Taster Sessions

Lots to learn about in Medway over the coming weeks.

Rochester Literature Festival

MACLS Adult Learning Tasters

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Trouble With Your Plot? Three Reasons to Kill Your Little Darlings

If you are a member of one of my writing groups or just writing your own novel at home – you may find this advice helpful – she’s a little mad but boy, Kristen Lamb knows her stuff!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Frederik Andreasson Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Frederik Andreasson

I love helping writers and one service I offer that’s been particularly valuable is plot consult. Writers who are struggling to finish or who start off with one idea after another only for that great idea to fall flat? They call me. Querying and getting nowhere? Again, contact me.

I’ve busted apart and repaired hundreds of plots. Thus far I’ve yet to meet a plot I couldn’t repair.

But, in my many years of doing this, I’ve seen enough troubled plots to note some common denominators for a failed story. One ingredient for plot disaster stands apart.

Little darlings.

As writers, we are at risk of falling in love with our own cleverness. The “cool” idea, the super amazing mind-blowing twist at the end. We get so caught up in how smart we are that we fail to see that we…

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Introducing: Bookmark’d at Live’n’Local

A Weekend of pure indulgence for book lovers and the writing community. Come and join us.

Rochester Literature Festival

Bookmark'd (1)

We’re pleased to host our Bookmark’d event again this year, albeit in a slightly different format to last year.

Taking place in Sun Pier House on Sunday, October 11, we have a selection of authors and publishers who can read and discuss their work with visitors in the intimacy of their own table space, located in between the cafe gallery and the main speakers gallery.

The cafe is open from 10am with free entry, and Bookmark’d will run until approximately 5.30pm.

Authors and publishers taking part are:

Urbane Publishing

Urbane Publications is a new and exciting independent publisher dedicated to publishing the books you want to read – hip, contemporary, groundbreaking  fiction and fascinating non-fiction designed to entertain, excite, and engage.


Wordsmithery is an independent literary arts organisation and micro-publisher run by Barry and Sam Fentiman-Hall. They specialise in literature events and projects and began micro-publishing in 2013, with…

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Give me a feather and I’ll fly

angelsghost BlogSpot.com

credit: angelsghost BlogSpot.com

This is the title of a short story written by my writing friend SL Russell, known to our writing group as Sue R. The story now features in an anthology of creative writing from our group called The Write Idea.

The book is called A Wealth of Words, and has been published by us through the superb self-publishing website FeedaRead.com. Our writing group meets monthly in North Kent at Leybourne Village Hall. if you would like more details and perhaps consider joining us, please email: thewrite.idea@yahoo.co.uk and be assured of a warm welcome by our current members.

The Write Idea was the first such social writing group I joined around 16 years ago. Belonging to this circle of fellow writers – guys and gals – all with a love of creative writing, first launched me into this stimulating activity, one I had wanted to follow since school days.

I believe story-telling is almost an instinctive human need – part of the extra ingredient bequeathed to man by the creator – so we had the tools to decide our own destiny; part of what makes us human. At differing times within various cultures around the world, there was no written language. Stories would be told within the family or community and become part of that culture. We usually picture this as round a campfire or in a long house. Perhaps beside a lake teeming with fish, or in a forest bountiful with fruit and game. Maybe in a barren land where food was difficult to find.


Credit: whatsupwiththat.com

Most tales had a moral message and from this various religious themes, myths and legends evolved. The pattern seems to have followed a similar pathway throughout the world, whether communities were interactive or totally isolated. Anthropologists tell us our collective ancestors all originally walked out of Africa, so the common thread must be in all our genes, spawning a common need to devise and tell stories. Told to a captive audience they would be memorised and handed down from one generation to the next, tweaked no doubt by each storyteller, to suit the lives of new listeners.

When written language began within each culture everything changed. Acquiring the skills of reading and writing means the individual can make their own decisions, not so dependent on the community. Yet community activities continue; within education, our working lives, families and social groups.

And so, to come full circle, it is wonderful to experience community within a writing group. It is a long time since we used the feathered quill but yes, we write our stories down. We also share them, sometimes reading them out loud. At such moments I revel in the joy of belonging to the local writing community, experiencing a deep connection to my companions, who have joined me on this journey first begun centuries ago.

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Credit: main-aur-mera-mann

SL Russell’s story Give me a feather and I’ll fly is featured in a new anthology of creative writing from The Write Idea Writing Group.

A Wealth of Words  is available now to view or buy from Feedaread.com on this link:  http://www.feedaread.com/books/A-Wealth-of-Words.aspx

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